Small Family Farm CSA

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June Tenth

Ode to the Mess                   

Making home-cooked meals is messy. Cooking is a labor of love born out of necessity to feed the humans we love in our lives nutritious, fresh, home-cooked meals. The meals must be put on the table in a timely fashion to avoid the hangry melt downs that happen in house-holds with growing, small people or hard-working adults that need their fuel and rest after a long day. I’m not a neat and orderly cook, much to my mother’s dismay. While I wish the time I spend cooking could be quiet, artistic, meditative and orderly, it is none of the above.

You can probably imagine how messy my kitchen gets. We have three small children underfoot (1 who is potty training) running in and out the doors of the house all day long. The dog, the cats, and the Adam bring in their dirt and dander and elevate the farm-house whirl-wind to a whole new level. Even as I’m cooking dinner, I’m running outside to pull up some radishes or arugula or some volunteer garlic scapes around the farm bringing in not only fresh vegetables, but the dirt still dangling from their roots. My sink fills with compostable food scraps quickly and the kitchen goes from clean to chaos in minutes. If my mother walks in, I know I’m going to get my 1,000th lesson on how we should all rinse our dishes, keep the counters clean and make sure the milk and mayo don’t get left out. She especially loves it when we have un-washed, freshly-gathered eggs in the kitchen on the counter top.

This newsletter is not to cause you alarm or invoke disgust in my admittedly dis-organized cooking habits, but rather a humble confession and possibly a plea for sympathy. My hope is that next time you’re cooking and you look at your own countertop and there are radish greens, asparagus ends, arugula roots and maybe even some…..dare I say it, dirt on your countertop, you feel less overwhelmed and besieged by the process. My hope is that you submit to the practice and indulge in the experience. I wish for you to trust that you will have a clean stove and countertop again, even if it isn’t until late in the evening.

I write this newsletter because I know that one thing that keeps many people from learning to cook or simply cooking at all, is the time it takes and mess it makes. It does take time and a good amount of it, especially when you’re chopping up all of these veggies and washing your lettuce leaves one at a time. I feel it is one of the most beautiful, meaningful and essential (buzz word of the year) uses of time. Perhaps I am not seeking sympathy but offering empathy to you.

Let the dirt on your countertop be a reminder that your food came from the earth and your intimate connection to whence it came. Let the piles of compost (or food scraps) make you feel rich from the bountiful harvest. Let the messy kitchen be a reminder to you of what a healthy, wonderful, mindful person you are who implements the time in your life for the very unpretentious act of cooking. May these words feel more like a rub on your back than a furrow of the brow. I, for one, am so proud of you! Cook on!

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Soooo....What's in the Box????

Asparagus-  This is the one item all season long that we acutually buy for the CSA boxes.  Asparagus is such a nice spring treat that we feel you must have it!  Aspargus likes to be kept cold and fresh.  You can stand it up in a shallow glass of water in the fridge and it will keep better this way.  In order to make use of every last bit of your asparagus (including the ends), you and trim the butts off and then use a potato peeler to trim around the outer edge of the bottoms of the aspargus to remove and fiberousness that is inherant in the ends of asparagus.  Consume it quickly as aspargus is much better fresh!  

Cherry Bell Radish-  We found these to be just the right balance between crispiness and spiciness.  They have a bit of spice that you woudl expect from a radish, but a of juciness and crunchiness that makes a radish good!  Don't forget that you can use the greens on your radishes!  They can be wilted and added to your eggs, sandwiches, pasta or anything that you're trying to make a touch healthier that you normally eat.  They can also be chopped finely and added to salads and eaten raw!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Pac Choi-  I LOVE these guys!  You can eat every bit of these from the white stalks all the way up to the greens.  The entire thing is edible.  My favorite way to eat pac choi, every time it comes into the season is to make this asian style salad that I posted in the video below.  Don't forget the Toasted Sesame Oil, it's a crucial ingredient!  Stores best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Overwintered Shallots-  Can you believe that we actually harvested these last August.  We cured them, cleaned then and kept them in our cooler until now to share with you this week!  Keep them in your fridge to keep them from sprouting.  They're actually a seed, so they will want to sprout if brought to a warm temperature.  Shallots are a special addition to sauces, dressings and marrinades.  They can also be used just like an oinon.  They have a more concentrated onion flavor in a smaller package.  

Red Buttercup Lettuce-  Buttercup lettuce varieties are a real treat and a true Spring gem.  Buttercup varieties don't tolerate the heat of summer and cannot be grown mid summer.  These heads are so tender and juicy!  You can use the leaves like a wrap or just slice them up into a salad.  Keeps best in a plastic bag in the fridge.  

Hakurai Salad Turnips-  These are the bunches of white roots that look a litlte like radishes, but have a sweet, smooth and crunchy texture on the inside.  These are a very unique seasonal gem on our farm, we have only grown them in the Spring under row cover.  You can eat your turnip greens as well as your roots.  The roots are lovely just sliced, salted and eaten as a snack or cut into halves or quarters and eaten with hummus or a favorite veggie dip.  

Spinach-  .5 lb spinach for all this week!  

Herb Packs-  The herb packs contain a basil, oregano, thyme, and sage plant.  Transplant these into containers of your choic or your garden outside.  Give them plenty of water at transplant and sunshine.  They should be very nice to have nearby this summer for all of your cooking adventures.  

Next Week's Best Guess:  Cherry Bell Radish, Kohlrabi, Hakurai Salad Turnips, Green and/or Oakleaf Lettuce, Green Curly Kale, we'll see what else?!  

Recipes-

Glazed Hakurai Salad Turnips with Greens

Asparagus wrapped in Phyllo Dough Appetizer

Pac Choi Fried Rice

Wilted Spinach Salad with Chopped Radishes and Shallots

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